Please help me choose a piano to purchase.
May 22, 2020 12:00 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to start re-learning piano at home. I'd like to buy a keyboard to do so. I'd prefer that keyboard to be as close to a piano as possible, in terms of key weight / size / pedals. I'd like to spend less than $300 if possible.
posted by lazaruslong to Shopping (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The cheapest 88-key weighted digital pianos (Yamaha P-45, Casio Privia PX-160) start at around $500 new. You can find keyboards cheaper than that, but they will be definitely un-piano-like in terms of size, feel, and sound quality. When I re-learned the piano I made the mistake of buying a 61-key semi-weighted keyboard. I ended up replacing it (with a Yamaha P-115 that I'm very happy with - the current equivalent is the P-125) after less than a year, and I had to spend a fair amount of time re-training my fingers that learned bad habits from the cheap keyboard.
posted by theodolite at 12:38 PM on May 22, 2020 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Another thing to keep in mind: these keyboards typically don't come with any extras at all, so you'll want (at bare minimum) a stand, bench, music rest, sustain pedal, and maybe headphones with a 1/4" jack. All of the major vendors sell bundles (Casio example, Yamaha example) but annoyingly they usually leave one thing out: like that Casio bundle has a pedal but no headphones, and the Yamaha one has headphones but no pedal.
posted by theodolite at 1:34 PM on May 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I am positive there are a lot of under-utilized used keyboards. Hopefully there are some in your area! I would encourage you to post a "wanted" add for a Yamaha P-125.

Especially now. People may be looking for extra cash.
posted by nathaole at 1:35 PM on May 22, 2020 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Good advice, and I can up my budget with these considerations.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:58 PM on May 22, 2020

Best answer: YMMV, but buying used was the best solution for me given my budget. In my research, Yamaha was the highest-recommended. I also test-played an older model Kawai electric piano that felt GREAT to play but was ultimately too big for my space.

Are you in an area where Craigslist or FB Marketplace are widely used? I ended up getting a great Yamaha digital piano in excellent condition with a stand, bench, and sustain pedal for under $400 a couple weeks ago, and there were many other digital pianos available on my local Craigslist. It took me about a week of looking, and there were extra steps for the sake of social distancing/safety (was able to test play it on the seller's front porch, made sure to wipe everything down with disinfectant as soon as it got home, and paid with Venmo).
posted by adastra at 2:31 PM on May 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I'm in a major US city and Craigslist does look promising, yeah. Buying from Craigslist does make me nervous right now, given everything.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:43 PM on May 22, 2020

Best answer: Nthing the used market, especially if you're OK with cosmetic imprefections and/or willing to put some time/research into minor repairs - 5 feet from me right now is a Yamaha P-80 (the 20-year old sibling of the P-115 and P-125 mentioned above). It's got a couple sticky keys (fixable, but I'm lazy) and one of the end caps has fallen off, but paired with a stand, headphones and a sustain pedal it's a perfectly adequate piano experience (and I played for over a decade on a proper piano growing up), though I'm sure a newer keyboard would be even better if you're able to stretch your budget a bit. Here are some ebay sold listings for the P80 to give you a sense of what others have paid.
posted by btfreek at 2:55 PM on May 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It's also possible that some music shops will have used items on hand. Worth seeing what's in your city and calling around (if they're even open).
posted by acidnova at 6:49 PM on May 22, 2020 [1 favorite] is the current robust online music instrument marketplace, for both individuals and smaller retailers, new and used instruments, parts, and etc.

From a quick poke around it looks like weighted keyboards tend to be "local pickup only", especially if sold by individuals, but you can use the site's search tools to possibly find a used one close enough to you or a new or used keyboard for sale by a music store able & willing to ship.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:06 AM on May 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hm so turns out I have a friend who is an actual piano player and is looking to upgrade from their home keyboard, a yamaha P-120. So he will likely let me get that for cheap. The problem is that he is in LA and I am in Philly, so it will largely depend on the freight cost I suppose.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:24 AM on May 26, 2020

Response by poster: Eh nah. For anyone who stumbles across this, it's ~$150 to ship a P-120 from LA to Philly.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:40 PM on May 26, 2020

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